Photo © John Kernick
Recently, a friend unearthed this 2010 tweet from Kim Kardashian.
@KimKardshian: Thanks guys! I had no idea a pickle was really a cucumber! U guys totally confirmed it!
There's a lot that can be said here. Let's start with how much has changed in just a few years. With the recent pickling obsession, the Kardashians are probably about to launch their own line of dills and half sours.
It's also gratifying to see how much the world of vegetables has blown up during that time. Even McDonald's is taking note: When activist Kathy Freston started a petition to get the chain to offer veggie burgers, she collected more than 90,000 signatures (including Mark Bittman, Alicia Silverstone, Pamela Anderson and our hero Andrew Zimmern).
While we wait for McDonald's to listen up and add a veggie burger to its menu, let's round up six places that have great ones available now.
The Plant; San Francisco, California
This 100 percent organic café has a handful of Bay Area locations offering meat, including free-range poultry and wild/sustainable fish. Its menu also has a whole section of Plant Burgers, based on signature patties made from lentils, ‘shrooms, beets and cashews. The Wasabi Plant Burger is topped with raspberry aioli, wasabi and sauerkraut; the California Plant Burger is covered with white cheddar and avocado.
Green Seed Vegan; Houston, Texas
This community-focused vegan café and juice bar is popular for fresh pressed sandwiches and "chlorophyll-rich live foods." Among the excellent veggie burgers: the Dirty Burque (a buckwheat patty with green chiles, arugula, avocado and cilantro on a whole-wheat bun) and the Big Tex (the buckwheat patty is topped with zucchini bacon, avocado, cheese and jalapeños).
Seva; Detroit, Michigan
This longtime popular Ann Arbor, Michigan, mainstay opened a Detroit location in 2010 with a huge vegetarian menu. There's a sizable selection of veggie sandwiches, including the Seva Club sandwich with Tofurky, crispy smoked coconut and avocado. The veggie burger options start with a choice of a tempeh burger or portobello burger, to which you can add a choice of cheddar, queso Chihuahua, Swiss, smoked mozzarella, Daiya vegan "cheddar" or Daiya vegan "mozzarella" cheese, as well as vegan BBQ sauce, spicy mayo, pesto or salsa.
Christopher's; Cambridge, Massachusetts
The house-made veggie burger on the lengthy list of "Burgahs & Sandwiches" consistently gets raves from diners and critics. It's topped with roasted red peppers and pesto. Vegetarian diners can also opt for the buffalo tofu burger—battered and fried tofu with buffalo sauce, blue cheese, lettuce and tomato on a French roll.
Wayward Vegan Café; Seattle, Washington
While we wait for McDonald's to come through with a veggie burger, vegans can satisfy any and all urges for a Big Mac with the Mac Daddy: two house-made meatless patties with Reuben sauce, lettuce, "cheese," pickles and onions on a sesame-free bun.
R+D Kitchen; Santa Monica, California
L.A. Weekly recently named this the best veggie burger in Los Angeles, and here's why: "Made from a mix of lightly toasted brown rice, mushrooms for depth and nutty almonds for crunch and a bit of forward flavor, plus some sautéed vegetables, the patty is tender, juicy and wonderfully caramelized at the edges. Served dripping over with melted Jack cheese and a side of invitingly vibrant toppings, the veggie burger from R+D Kitchen is a straightforward example of elevated vegetarian cooking."
Related: Richard Blais's Veggie Burgers with Pomegranate Ketchup